We have been adding bits of technology to our lives primarily since the advent of the industrial age. For Power Engineers, it has been since James Watt invented the steam engine. Somebody had to operate them, but it was risky business as no one understood the dynamics involved in operating directly fired pressure equipment. We know different now; a lot of study and practical time is the norm today before anyone can be permitted to operate this equipment and auxiliaries. Understanding how technology is used and intergraded into todays control systems is what makes todayís Power Engineer a valuable asset in any regulated or unregulated plant.
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Industry employs Power Engineers that jurisdictions certify, however, where does a Power Engineer go to when they have concerns? With the direction of regulation heading towards an Academic Risk Based Model, the need for an impartial third party will become more of a necessity. There exists to date no legal support mechanism for Power Engineers to raise concerns about unsafe operating conditions. This puts Plant Chiefs and Power Engineers in a precarious position. Working with an Academic risk model (yet to be determined) will make this even more challenging.
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Ontario is exploring a regulatory mode similar to BC, and Manitoba is contemplating the same as well. Alberta is rumoured to be considering seeking changes to the regulations for Power Engineers while Nova Scotia is looking at placing Power Engineers under the Apprenticeship Agency. Things are lining up across Canada for changes on how plants are to be regulated, and not one jurisdiction will be the same notwithstanding the push for harmonization by the federal government.
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If we are moving towards the Academic Risk Based Model for the rating of Plants, then there needs to be a place where instances of near misses can be looked at without fear of reprisal. The IPE is the only National Organization with a mandate to promote the professional aspect of Power Engineers through the direct involvement at all levels of the curriculum and participating on government expert panels and jurisdictional advisory councils. Although the IPE works and acts like any other legally (funded) founded profession, the institute is managed by a body of professional volunteers who care about the Power Engineering field.
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As regulations throughout Canada become more modernized, then the individuals who are directly responsible for the safe operation need to have a legally recognized profession to turn to when there are professional concerns. You canít expect the jurisdiction to be impartial if it works on a fee for service basis. A Plant Chief and/or Power Engineer may not be comfortable with a change in the level of risk. The Institute of Power Engineers embodies the professional standards for the Power Engineer field. Itís time to allow the IPE to be the legal funded body that represents all Power Engineers.
IPE National Directors and Executive
Ralf Klopf, President Email
Blair Saulnier, PE, 1st Vice President (Maritimes Area Director) Email
Eric Steinson, PE, Past President Email
Ed Hnytka, PE, Alberta Area Director Email
Guy Gagon, Quebec Area Director Email
Dave Paulin, PE, British Columbia Area Director Email
William (Bill) Kolinowich,Second Vice-President, Manitoba Area Director Email
George Walsh, NFLD/Labrador Area Director Email
Gilles Leclair, Ontario Area Director Email
Allan Whetter, National Secretary Email
Don Purser, Assistant National Secretary Email
Jude Rankin, PE, Advice in Council Email